Peter Parker, Spider-Man's "normal guy" alter ego, has been killed in the 700th issue of Marvel Comic's The Amazing Spider-Man, and reactions to the plot twist are decidedly mixed.
In an interesting turn, the mind of long-time Spidey foe Doctor Octopus, a metal tentacled killer, somehow inhabited Spidey's body but experienced an epiphany, turning him into a good guy who will try to carry on Spider-Man's heroic legacy. In the meantime, the mind of Peter Parker dies after being transferred into Doc Ock's failing body.
Writer Dan Slott is excited about the new direction. "This is Moriarty in the head of Sherlock. This is Prince John inside of Robin Hood. This is the greatest villain inside the body of the greatest hero and trying to do good. This is a guy who was a couple steps way from a bucket list, and now he's got a whole new lease on life. That's really going to change him," Slott said about the biggest twist in the story.
Editor Stephen Wacker also had a few words to say about the new direction.
His (Parker's) life is still important because it affects everything that Doctor Octopus does as Spider-Man. Seeing a supervillain go through this life is the point, trying to be better than the hero he opposed.
Not all Spidey fans are as excited by the turn of events. After 50 years of Peter Parker, some fans are a bit unhappy that the comic company is killing him off.
Writer Slott even resorted to some absurd hyperbole when asked about the reaction of some unhappy fans that issued a few death threats. He told the Los Angeles Times: "My exact phrase was, 'I'm pulling a Salman Rushdie'. Peter Parker means a lot to people. Not just comic book fans, but fans of the movies, cartoons, toys and even the Thanksgiving Day balloon. He's been with us for over half a century.
Let's not make such little of the threat Salman Rushdie faces, shall we?
Still, fans can be, well, fanatic, granted.
All that emotion is a bit less warranted, though, when one takes just a minute to understand that in comics "death" is only "permanent" to the point that writers decide it isn't. Any number of comic book characters have been "killed" only to be miraculously brought back to life in later issues. Superman, Batman and Captain America are only the most recent characters killed off only to be brought back to life -- or back to their roles -- in subsequent issues.
Spider-Man debuted in August of 1962. The character is celebrating 50 years in print.